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1776 In Concert: Unique Take On Musical


Local production company Shore Thing Productions takes a “revolutionary” spin on the award-winning musical “1776,” based on the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In a couple of weeks, they’ll take it to the Tower Theater stage in a performance that organizers say you just have to see.

What is normally a cast of 24 men and two women is an all-female cast of Local Central Oregonians as young as 14.

“The unique part of 1776 is that we’re all women playing men, but we’re not trying to be them — be men. We’re actually going to be speaking their words, having their energy, their essence, their spirit,” said Jennifer Matthey Riker, who plays the role of John Adams.

The musical will be presented “in concert”.

There will be no costumes, no special sets, and minimal staging. This gives the opportunity for audience members to focus on the script, the dialogue, and the music.

“What I think is going to be exciting is we’re going to be women playing men,” said Matthey Riker. “I think people are going to be listening to the words in a different way.”

Every actress has a story of her own, outside of the musical.

Matthey Riker is a mom during the day to two young kids, who she says were her No. 1 support in taking this role.

“If you do something, it will inspire,” said Riker. “I have kids right now running around the house singing the songs, doing show tunes off Broadway, and that’s fun.”

“The other reason I did it, is its self growth,” she added. “If I scare myself once a year, I’m doing something right. And it’s just a great challenge — everybody should get scared at least once a year!”

But 1776 in Concert is more than just a musical, its a lesson in our American history for young and old.

“I think a very mature second- or third-grader would get a lot out of this,” said Riker. “There’s a lot of schools in Bend where their story line or focus is the revolution and Declaration of Independence.”

“So for those children, this would be an amazing experience,” said Riker. “So moms and dads, come out, bring your kids, and I think they’ll enjoy it.”

Tickets are on sale now for three shows the weekend leading up to July 4th, kicking off the Tower Theater’s “Marquee Series.”

The cost per ticket is $20 and all seats are reserved. The show is a benefit for the Tower Theater Foundation.

For more information call : (541) 317- 0700.

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